Intel Alder Lake launch sparks DDR5 RAM module shortage

The three major DDR5 DRAM makers haven't yet significantly boosted production capacity.

Adata DDR5

According to reports in Taiwanese media, the recent launch of Intel Alder Lake processors for desktop computers has already inflicted a heavy toll on stocks of DDR5 memory modules. Much of the report seems to be based on an interview with Adata chairman, Chen Libai, who recently talked about his observations, hopes and expectations regarding the new DDR5 market – a market in which Adata will be one of the major consumer-facing suppliers.

Intel Alder Lake’s launch was only a few weeks ago, but for the computer industry it marked an important point, not just because of all the new CPUs, motherboards, and systems sold off the promise of the next generation from Intel, but because it entered year one of the DDR5 era.

Libai has already flagged some bad news, though. The Adata boss indicates the big three DRAM makers have not yet turned over enough of their production facilities to DDR5, and a local news report says this has sparked a shortage already, due to eSports player enthusiasm for the latest Intel PC platform.

The source reckons the global shortage of DDR5 that is now being observed came “unexpectedly.” Libai helpfully projects the big three (Samsung, SK hynix, and Micron) will re-jig production priorities to address the market properly by Q2 2022.

Taiwanese firms like Adata, Team Group, Transcend, Innolux, and so on are keeping a close eye on DDR5 DRAM supplies and hope to make hay during year one of the DDR5 era. While outwardly concerned about material input to his module production lines, Adata’s Libai sounds quite chirpy in his statements about the industry. This optimism probably has a lot to do with the high pricing we are seeing on DDR5 stocks that are still available to consumers, and not just the expectation that the shortage will ease by the summer of 2022.

Like with the GPU shortage, we expect any incoming DDR5 supplies to favour system builders over the DIY market, so pre-built PCs and laptops with ADL and new memory – and those highly soughtafter GPUs – might make particularly rational new platform choices from now until summer.

Do you need to splurge on DDR5 for a new Alder Lake PC build? MSI recently investigated this very question, and you can read about it now: MSI Intel Z690 motherboard DDR4 vs. DDR5 performance tested.